The Journey is the Gift

If you are reading this blog, then I assume that you have plans and goals, or at least dreams that you desire to turn into real plans and goals. Have you had a moment where what you always wanted finally happened, and when it did… it was not quite what you expected it would be? It could have been a Christmas present you received as a child, something you saw in an advertisement and carefully added in your letter to Santa. Christmas morning arrived, and you were SO excited, you had a package with your name on it! It was big and beautifully wrapped. You tore the paper off in a frenzy of excitement, and there it was, the toy you had been dreaming of for a month! You get it out of the box, waited for your dad to put it together, someone finally found batteries, and after all this agonizing time, you get to play with this wonder. Then it happens, as you realize the truth, “Wait… I thought it did more things, I thought the sounds were going to be more realistic, the commercial made it seem more lifelike.” You are still happy, but maybe some of the shine was less than you thought it would be.

Life can be like this sometimes. You carefully plan out where you want to go, you write good S.M.A.R.T. Goals, you take the extra (and necessary) time to create weekly and monthly tasks that will take you in a straight line to reaching your goals. You already know that by doing all this work, and then following through with your written plans, that you WILL get to your destination. Maybe you finally reach your goal in 18 months, it is the position at your organization that you have been dreaming about since the day you started. You cannot believe, in spite of your planning and hard work, that you were actually the one chosen for this position! You cannot wait to get started, you know that from now on, life is going to be great! The only problem, is that it will not always be great, and once you get there you are going to want something more, and some days will be hard, and somedays you will wonder why you even wanted this position. I can tell you this has happened to me. I tend to be VERY idealistic. I imagine what a place, a group of people, or a new position will be like and then when I actually find out the truth, I am sometimes disappointed because I had such high expectations of what I imagined it would be. This does not mean the reality was bad or wrong, it simply means that I let my imagination plant the best possible scenario as the most likely scenario and the odds are against my expectations being met when I do that.

I do think having high expectations for yourself and others is good, but you can only control your own actions. If you have high expectations for others – you are going to have to inspire them or find ways to motivate them to have higher expectations for themselves too.

What I want you to focus on today, and try to focus on everyday, is that while you are dreaming and planning and setting high goals for yourself, BE PRESENT IN TODAY. This is something I have to tell myself and something I am always working on, as well. Do not spend so much time trying to get to your destination that you don’t appreciate your own journey. If you cannot be happy in your journey you will not be happy at your destination. Each day take time to consider what you are grateful for. A good tip is to write a few items that you are grateful for in your journal, as a reflection on the day. Some people talk with their families around the dinner table and take turns discussing the good things that happened to them or the things they are thankful for from the day. Even if you had a really bad day, maybe you are grateful for the co-worker that brought you a cup of coffee and an offer to help tackle the project that took a bad turn. Maybe you are thankful for the music you listened to on the way home that reminded you of your best childhood friend, maybe it is the way your kids light up when they see you at the end of the day. Yes, even on bad days when the road to your goal seems dim and rocky, there is something to be thankful for. Appreciate that. Be present. Reaching your goals will give you a rush of joy, a thrill of knowing you accomplished something, and confidence that you will be able to do that again and again, as your goals become loftier. Inevitably though, you will want more – after all, you are a genuine driven woman! Please, appreciate the journey. Your Journey is the beautiful, complicated, challenging, GIFT and you deserve that journey to be incredible!